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U.S. Says It Has Greatly Aided Nigeria’s Anti-Terrorism Efforts

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The United States has refuted allegations by the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Adebowale Adefuye, that it had failed to help fight Boko Haram militants, saying there had been a great deal of American aid to Nigeria.

Fielding questions during a press briefing in Washington on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of State spokesman, Jen Paski, admitted it had blocked the third party sale of Cobra helicopters to the Nigerian military, as reported last month.

Paski said in the past six months since the Islamic militants snatched more than 200 schoolgirls in Chibok, Washington had shared intelligence with the Nigerian army, begun training a new battalion and held high-level talks on the threat of Boko Haram.

She also said the US had provided and approved sales of military equipment to Nigerian armed forces.

“These decisions are made, of course, after careful scrutiny to ensure they conform with United States law,” she said, adding that the US had refused to transfer some Cobra helicopters due to concerns about the Nigerian army’s ability to use them.

There were also “ongoing concerns about the Nigerian military’s protection of civilians when conducting military operations,” Psaki said, adding that these had been discussed with the Nigerian authorities.

The Nigerian military had tried to order for Cobras, a brand of attack helicopters manufactured by Bell Helicopters in Forth Worth, Texas, from Israel a few months ago, but the deal was blocked by the US government, which refused to give the Israeli government a “No Objection” to proceed with the sale.

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Before most US-manufactured military hardware can be sold to a third party by another country, it needs the permission of the US government to go ahead with the transaction so that US equipment does not get into the wrong hands such as terrorists, nations not perceived to be friendly with the US, or those perceived to have a poor human rights record.

In the case of Nigeria, the US had concerns with the Nigerian military’s human rights record, especially with respect to its prosecution of the war against Boko Haram in the North east.

In a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Washington on Monday, Ambassador Adefuye took on the US government when he launched into a tirade against the US administration.

“The U.S. government HSS up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request yo purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time,” Adefuye alleged.

This, he said, was ” on the basis of allegation that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human tights of Book Haram suspects captured or arrested.”

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